New Delhi |Bishan Singh Bedi, former India captain and one of the greatest left-arm spinners, died on Monday at the age of 77 after battling prolonged illness.
Bedi is survived by his wife Anju, son Angad and daughter Neha.
"He breathed his last at his home this morning. He recently underwent a knee operation. The infection spread and he could not recover from that," said one of his close friends. Born in Amritsar in 1946, Bedi played 67 Tests for India and took 266 wickets with 14 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul.
He was the part of Indian cricket's golden quartet of spinners that also had Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwat Chadrasekhar and Srinivas Venkataraghavan. They formed the core of India's bowling unit for more than a decade between 1966 and 1978.
Bedi was briefly the manager of the Indian cricket team in 1990 during tours of New Zealand and England.
He was also a national selector and mentor to many talented spinners like Maninder Singh and Murali Kartik, who all swore by his technical insight.
Bedi was one of the most admired Indian captains and he led the team for nearly four years in Test cricket between 1975 and 1979 after Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi's retirement.
Throughout his life, he remaind anti-establishment and his views often ruffled feathers of those in power.
He was the longest serving Delhi Ranji team captain from 1974to 1982 and under him the team became a force to reckon with national cricket circuit.
Condolences poured in on social media as the news of his death became public.
"Extremely saddened by the passing of Bishan Singh Bedi ji. His immense contribution to cricket will forever be remembered. May god give strength to his family and loved ones!," former India opener Gautam Gambhir wrote on X.
R Ashwin, one of the modern-day greats with 489 Test wickets under his belt, also took to X to express his condolence.
"Sad to hear about the demise of the great Bishen Singh Bedi, apart from being a great cricketer, he was an affable person and went the extra mile to help young cricketers," Ashwin wrote.
Former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin also posted his tribute.
"I'm sorry to hear about Bishan Singh Bedi sir’s passing away. Sending my heartfelt condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace," he wrote. "Sad to hear the demise of Shri Bishan Singh Bedi. Indian Cricket has lost an icon today. Bedi Sir defined an era of cricket and he left an indelible mark on the game with his artistry as a spin bowler and his impeccable character. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time," BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote on 'X'.
Former BCCI acting president CK Khanna also expressed his grief at Bedi's demise.
"It was an honour to have known Bishan ji for so many years. Indian cricket will certainly be poorer due to his death," Khanna said